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History of Leysdown

Leysdown comes from the Old English ‘leg’ meaning a ‘beacon-fire’ with ‘dūn’ as a ‘hill’; therefore, a ‘hill with a beacon-fire’. The Domesday Book records Leysdown as Legesdun. 

The Normans built Leysdown church - dedicated to Saint clement and demolished in the 1980’s. In 1798, Edward Hasted gave a detailed description of the state of the church. He notes that ‘St. Clement, was, till within these few years, in a most dilapidated state. The tower of it, which was of good workmanship, embattled, and very antient, hung over towards the south, more than seven feet out of the perpendicular line, like that of Florence; and the body of the church too, which appeared to have been formerly much larger, had many years since fallen down, so that divine service was for some time performed in a shed, built up for that purpose. In the room of this there has been erected a in all neat building, of one isle, with a wooden turret at the west end, in which there is one bell. It seems not to extend so far westward as the former building, for there is the space of two or three yards between the west end of it and the remaining part of the old tower, which joined to the former church. This tower has been taken down to within about eight feet from the ground; what remains, however, sufficiently shews the antiquity and costliness of it, and the tremendous posture in which it stood’.

Leysdown railway station opened on the Sheppey Light Railway’s line from Leysdown to Queenborough where it connected with South Eastern and Chatham Railway’s Sheerness Line, in 1901. The line closed on 4 December 1950.

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